Bin lorry vic­tims fam­i­lies can sue coun­cil, court rules

The Herald - - NEWS - DAVE FIN­LAY

A JUDGE has ruled that dam­ages ac­tions brought by rel­a­tives of some of those killed in the Glas­gow bin lorry tragedy can pro­ceed de­spite a fail­ure in the le­gal process.

Lord Do­herty said they would be “very ma­te­ri­ally prej­u­diced” if he re­fused to ex­er­cise his power to al­low the claims against Glas­gow City Coun­cil to pro­ceed.

The judge said: “The probable con­se­quences would be very sig­nif­i­cant up­set for the pur­suers and ma­te­rial de­lay in ob­tain­ing repa­ra­tion.

“That up­set and de­lay would be likely to have sig­nif­i­cant detri­men­tal ef­fects on the pur­suers’ mental health.”

The eight rel­a­tives brought the ac­tion for com­pen­sa­tion against the lo­cal au­thor­ity af­ter the bin lorry driven by Harry Clarke left the road in Glas­gow city cen­tre on De­cem­ber 22 in 2014 and trav­elled along pave­ments be­fore com­ing to a halt near Queen Street Sta­tion.

Jac­que­line Mor­ton, 51, and Stephe­nie Tait, 29, from Glas­gow, Erin Mc­quade, 18, and her grand­par­ents Jack Sweeney, 68, and his 69-yearold wife Lor­raine, from Dum­bar­ton and Gil­lian Ewing, 52, all died. Oth­ers were in­jured.

The Crown de­cided not to pros­e­cute Clarke and ef­forts by rel­a­tives to bring a pri­vate pros­e­cu­tion were re­fused.

The eight were granted an or­der at the Court of Ses­sion in Ed­in­burgh pre­vent­ing pub­li­ca­tion of de­tails lead­ing to their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The rel­a­tives raised an ac­tion against the lo­cal au­thor­ity in De­cem­ber last year but it fell af­ter the sum­mons was not called within three months and a day of it pass­ing the signet. A fur­ther ac­tion was raised in June this year and the lo­cal au­thor­ity main­tained that the present claims were now time barred.

Lawyers act­ing for the rel­a­tives ar­gued that the court should ex­er­cise its pow­ers to al­low it to pro­ceed.

Lord Do­herty was told at an ear­lier hear­ing that if the ac­tion was al­lowed li­a­bil­ity was not in dis­pute.

The judge gave ver­bal rea­sons why he would let it pro­ceed but then pro­duced a writ­ten judg­ment as the coun­cil has raised an ap­peal.

It was agreed that de­lay may have a sig­nif­i­cant ef­fect on the rel­a­tives’ psy­cho­log­i­cal con­di­tion.

A clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, Dr Ali­son Harper, who as­sessed some of the rel­a­tives, said they were strug­gling not only with the im­pact of the deaths but the stress caused by the con­tin­u­ing le­gal case.

„ Harry Clarke, driver of bin lorry which crashed killing six peo­ple.

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